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First Impression: Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Switch) ~ Illegal Building Is Fun!

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Official website

When I played Dragon Quest Builders on the Nintendo Switch, I was highly surprised by the quality of the game. Now, granted, not everybody enjoyed the game and some Dragon Quest fans even disliked the game quite a lot. Take for example my buddy Drakulus, who gave the game a 5/10. Another friend of mine, FalconGameReviews wrote a more lukewarm review of the game. And then you have me, giving the game the full marks. While I won’t deny that the original had some flaws like the lacking combat, I heavily enjoyed my time with the game. After I had beaten the original game, I certainly wanted to play more and when I saw the trailer for the sequel, I was extremely hyped. So, now that I was able to play the game for a while, I can give you my first impressions on it. So, what did I think of the game so far? Let’s take a look. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article in the comment section down below.

Illegal Building Is Fun!

dragon-quest-builders-2-11The events of the original game took place in an alternative universe of the ending from the original Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest Builders 2 takes place a few years after Dragon Quest II. In the 2nd Dragon Quest game, the hero Erdirck takes on Hargon and Malroth. Their followers, the children of Hargon want revenge and make sure that nobody is allowed to create anything. But during the story, you teach the brainwashed citizens that building is still fun while trying to avoid being caught by the children of Hargon.

So, they paint builders as a sort of criminal. You start on a ship where you learn the ropes of the game and get a tutorial on the basic game mechanics. When the ship actually crashes, you wake up on an island together with a person named Malroth, that has no memories of his past.

The story so far has been quite enjoyable. The charm of an actual Dragon Quest game is still here. The humor and great writing are still here. Also, in this game, the story is a bit more in-depth. It takes some various turns and it’s more expansive than the original one. Story-wise, I personally think that the story of the sequel is a lot better than the original. It plays more on the central theme of the story but it also has a lot of side stories and side quests to keep you occupied.

The only negative about the story is that the pacing is a bit slow. Personally, I don’t see this as a big deal but I think that this can be a turnoff to some people. Sadly enough there no way to skip the dialogue outright. Or there is no way to look at the previous dialogue, like if you accidentally pressed a button and skipped a part of the dialogue while you were reading.

Now, while I was enjoying the story, I noticed something that worried me a bit. While I was playing the game, either in docked or in handheld mode, the Switch’s cooling fans kick into high gear. My Switch actually got extremely hot in the middle. Also, the Switch is blowing out hot air, which was an unwelcome thing while I was playing this game during a heatwave…

Expanded

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A ton of mechanics in this game got expanded to aid you in building the town or doing your quests.

First of all, you don’t need Chimera Wings anymore to fast travel back to your base. There is a new fast travel mechanic that makes life a lot easier. It’s a huge improvement over Dragon Quest Builders 1.

The gilder feature is a godsend. I loved it in Breath of the Wild and I love it in this game. It’s an amazing feature that aids a lot with traveling and exploring the vast and open world in this game.

The Builderpedia feature is an extremely welcome feature as well, it’s a sort of mini wiki inside the game that can help you when you want to build a certain room in your base and you don’t know which items you need to have in your room in order for it to register as a certain room.

The new builder tools like the handy builder’s glove is also an extremely welcome feature. When you misplaced a block, you don’t have to mine it out anymore. You just pick it up again with the glove and place it where you want.

A big complaint about the original game was the camera. Now, the issue was that in tight spaces or in buildings with multiple floors, it was sometimes a struggle to center the camera on your character. In this game, they have a brilliant solution to that problem. With the simple press of a button, you can go into the first-person mode and more easily explore around.

Another great feature is the autosave. The game autosaves after a while of playing. Also, you don’t have to go to the village center to save it anymore. You can easily do that from the menu.

There are a ton of amazing other additions in this game that make this game even more enjoyable to play. From more easily creating rivers and lakes to changing walls into another block with the click of a button… If I would be talking about all the new mechanics and how they improve this game, I would be here all day.

Now, there are a few things that got downgraded. First of all, cooking. While it’s unique and somewhat fun that you need to cook your food on a campfire, you can’t cook in bulk anymore. Meaning that you are unable to easily get all of your food cooked.

While that is negative, the new cooking system allows for more experimentation. Since in some cooking stations you are able to throw ingredients together to make something unique like in Breath of the Wild.

Something I also missed from the original game was the fact you could keep blueprints in your inventory after building a certain room. It would be so handy if I was able to just reuse a blueprint somewhere else. For example, when I wanted to rebuild a certain bar from the main story on the Isle of Awakening, I had to either take screenshots or reference the Builderpedia several times.

Complaining out of love

Dragon-Quest-Builders-2-Boy-Malroth-Windmill.jpgIt might seem that I’m complaining a lot about this game. That’s because I’m highly enjoying my time with this game while still being a bit frustrated at several mistakes that make this game less enjoyable. Now, if I would score the game, I would still give it full marks.

One of the reasons why this game gets full marks is the visual presentation. This game looks amazing. I’m so glad that there is photo mode and a screenshot button on the Switch so I can make screenshots of the amazing landscapes and gorgeous visual presentation of this game. Together with amazing animations, this game really comes to life. I especially like little details like when you move the camera from under weather to above weather, the camera appears wet and various water droplets roll off your screen.

Like every Dragon Quest game, the music in this game is fantastic. I haven’t played a Dragon Quest game where I didn’t like music. That said, I do have to ask the Dragon Quest fanbase a question. Does the soundtrack of this game have original songs or does it also reuse classics from the previous Dragon Quest games, like the original Dragon Quest Builders? I was unable to find more information on that.

Together with amazing sound effects, the audiovisual presentation is excellent. In addition to that, the stable 60FPS framerate of this game is just a blessing. The game runs and plays extremely smooth. I can even say that I rarely had a slowdown. In some rare situations, I didn’t see the animation of a block-breaking but that happened so rarely, I don’t think it’s a huge problem.

Now, let’s talk about the controls of this game. The controls are still excellent. While I played the original with the Nintendo Switch Joycons, I did play this game with a wired Pro Controller. And I have to say it’s great fun.

Even with great controls, the combat is still quite generic. Not a lot changed when you compare it to the original. Now, when I read other reviews, I see a lot of people complain about basic combat. To be honest, personally, I don’t see this as that big of a problem. The game isn’t focused on combat with enemies, the game is more focused on building and crafting a world and your town. So yeah, the basic combat doesn’t bother me that much.

Something that did bother me and got me in a lot of trouble was the fact that I was sometimes unable to eat my healing pots during combat. I’m under the impression that there is either some delay on it during combat or some sort of cool down. Quite often I had to walk away from a battle to eat a healing pot.

Now, a feature that I love quite a bit is that after scripted battles, your citizens actually repair your city. Yes, if monsters manage to destroy your city or parts of it, it gets fully repaired to the way you actually build it. This is an amazing tweak and one that saved me a lot of headaches. Since one time I actually rage quit a boss in the original game simply because it destroyed around 75% of my town.

This might be just me, but I have the impression that this game is easier than the original. So far, I have fought several bosses in the game and quite rarely the gave me trouble.

A minor complaint that I have with this game is that there is only one save slot. Compared to Dragon Quest Builders 1, you had 5 slots per chapter. Granted, this game isn’t split up into chapters, but I really miss the 5 save slots. Since now I can’t really lend out my Switch to my girlfriend without me fearing that she saves over my save for example.

This game is an excellent sequel, it builds upon the original game quite a lot. From a central island where you bring all of your befriended villagers and build your own paradise to unlocking new blocks and various other things with the gratitude you receive. There are also monsters you can tame and ride, you can swim… You can quite easily change your look in-game and let’s not forgot to mention the multiplayer functionality that this game has.

It’s no wonder that various people who are playing this game got addicted to this title. For me, it got to the point that I even put other games aside. Games like Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Fire Emblem – The Three Houses… While this game came out, I was lending my girlfriend’s PS4 since she has Uncharted, a game series I always wanted to play. And nope, I kept playing Dragon Quest Builders 2.

But to whom do I recommend this game? Well, easy. I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys open-world games like Breath of the Wild or Skyrim. I also recommend this game to people who enjoy Minecraft, Terarria or games of that nature. If you have enjoyed the original Dragon Quest Builders, this game is for you as well. The biggest issue, in my opinion, is the overheating of the Switch. The other negatives don’t affect my enjoyment with this game that much.

So, yeah. I’m in love with this game. There are high chances that this game will be in my top 10 games I played in 2019 list. To be honest, so far it’s even on my list as a contender for Game of the Year. But let’s just wait and see, the second part of 2019 has a lot of amazing titles that will come out. And also, the game will receive DLC later this year, so my opinion might change on that…

I may talk a bit more in-depth about this game if I ever write a review on this game but for now, I think it’s about time that I end off this article right here. I thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

LaterLevels’ QOTM – January 2019 – The Ultimate Game: Themes

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For a couple of years now, LaterLevels is organizing a question of the month. In 2017, you were able to send in a small section to be featured in the article. You were limited to the number of characters you had for a tweet. In 2018, every month a writer got a challenge to write an article centered around a question asked by LaterLevels. This year, LaterLevels is going “to develop” the best and/or ultimate game. In each month, another part of the game will be created. The idea is that other bloggers write up an article with their thoughts and ideas on that section and submit it to the post of that month. At the end of the month, the best is chosen by the already existing development team and will be invited to join the secret Discord to judge the entries in the following months. If you want to read more about the rules in-depth, you can read the post of LaterLevels here. Now that I have explained all that, it’s time for my entry. In January, the setting and theme will be decided without deciding the story and such. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the content of this article and/or the question in the comment section down below.

The challenge and my background

yoyo_logo_512Now, I don’t want to brag but I have various ideas to make a very interesting game. In the past, I actually created some arcade clones with YoYo Game Maker. I’m not going to republish them since I lost the source files and I want to change so much for them to get republished.

alleyway_boxartBut, here is the thing. When I was developing a game, I always started with the mechanics and gameplay. For example, when I wanted to create a Break-Out clone, I actually started out with recreating the Gameboy game Alleyway. Now, I felt too limited in level design, so I started to look further. Then, I found an asset pack with different blocks, a ball and various other sprites with a sea theme. So, I totally reskinned the game and I made up a story about a submarine stuck in a big magical coral reef trying to find its way out.

warioware-diy-top-625x352Another example is when I wanted to remake those simple flash and phone games that you need to tap a ball or an object to keep it from the ground. When I started to make that game, I got some small ideas for other mini-games with the sprites in that asset pack and I started to create a sort of WarioWare inspired game.

Now, you might have noticed that I always talk about an asset pack. This is a pack where various sprites, sound effects, music, backgrounds… are provided to game developers. In almost all of the games I created, I used asset packs. I can barely draw a decent stick figure let alone design various level elements. Also, when I created those games; I was 12 years old. So, I didn’t know how copyright and licensing work. That’s another reason why I’m not going to republish the games.

Anyways, let’s end this storytime about my history here and let’s get back to answer LaterLevel’s question. The reason why I’m talking about my hobbyist game development past is the fact I mentioned earlier. I mainly focused on an interesting and unique gameplay. The setting and themes would come later. While that is not the best approach, but it was the approach my young teenage mind took. And because LaterLevels didn’t want too many story details, the challenge got even harder.

81i7ndliszl._sx385_I also messed around in RPG Maker. And I always had one or two chapters of the story written before I started to create the world and setting the characters lived in. I had a general idea of the world but when I write, I love to let the readers create the world for themselves instead of possibly boring them with the millionth description of how a fantasy castle town looked like. In addition to that, the fact that I don’t describe a scene gives me the liberty to use the setting to my advantage. That way I can bend the world to the story and my needs. But it makes continuity much more challenging.

So, the ultimate video game. What could be a setting and/or a theme of the game? Well, I have a few suggestions without giving too many plot details. Let’s take a look at that.

Themes and settings

First of all, when you are talking about the best game, I think that the theme should be one of the variety. A power fantasy in another world would be extremely easy and generic. Most RPGs use a silent character you can name yourself or has the most generic dialogue that can be used for each RPG main character. To be honest, this is a generalization. There are exceptions of course.

91fbW6yu4TL.jpgA perfect video game needs to grab you and pull you into the story, world, and setting. When I was brainstorming for ideas I noticed that most of my favorite story-driven games take place in one location. For example, in Corpse Party, you explore one haunted school and the associated buildings. In Another Code: R, you explore the vacation resort where your father works. And as a final example, in the first two Bioshock games, you explore Rapture.

swordartonlineSuddenly, various things started to click in my mind. I got my eureka moment. I got it when I remembered the story of Sword Art Online. In that series, people are trapped in an online VR-game. In order to escape, they have to beat the game. The catch is, when they die in the game, they die in real life. In that series, the game takes place in a huge fantasy open world with various dungeons and quests.

Now, what if we take the idea of Sword Art Online and expand it for the best game, but with a huge twist? First of all, we can decide if we create the game in VR or not later. My suggestion is that the best video game takes place in a sort of fantasy open world with castles and towns that provide a lot of quests and things to do.

no game no ligeThe twist is that everything in the world happens with games. Think of the mechanics of the No Game No Life series, where every dispute is settled with a bet who wins a game of for example chess, rock/paper/scissors, poker or even more extreme examples. Now, it would an interesting idea if this idea is implemented into a real game we can play.

Back to the story of Sword Art Online, in order for those who are trapped to escape they have to beat all bosses in a huge tower. Now, what if each floor in this tower is replaced with a challenge in another genre and that you have to beat different challenges in that genre before you can progress.

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Think about the overall story of Retro Game Challenge. In that game, you get sent back to the past and in order for you to return, you have to beat various challenges in retro games. These challenges range from beating the first three levels of a top-down shooter to performing some unique tricks in a sports game.

So, the setting would be a great fantasy open world with one central tower the players have to beat in order to climb the leader boards. On each floor, another mini-game or challenge is provided. To avoid people getting frustrated at being stuck on one floor, I think it would be wise to give the player two or three options on the floor. For example, a fighting game challenge, an RPG challenge or a rhythm game challenge.

51vk2fckjhlMaybe it’s an interesting idea to also have separate dimensions where players specialize in a certain genre or style of gameplay. Compare it a bit to the main characters in Kingdom Hearts traveling between various Disney stories to solve issues there.

The theme of the game can be either competition or teamwork. Various guilds can possibly form to aid players to easily beat certain genres. On the other hand, I totally see certain players compete with each other to be the best player in a certain genre.

Being one of the best players in a certain genre can give advantages in the game. In terms of balance, each genre should have a “contrast genre”. That way we avoid players getting overpowered because they mastered too many genres. For example, the players who master a fast-paced genre like rhythm games shouldn’t be able to easily level up their stats in a more slower based genre like grand strategy.

Do you see it now? Just trying to find a setting and or a theme for a game is tricky for me. Like I said earlier, I don’t create worlds too often and I leave them as vague as I can so I can bend them to the will of the gameplay and story. As soon as I got a certain idea, I start thinking about how the world actually works and how the world is balanced. And then we get eerily close to game design and how the game plays.

When I cut out all my gameplay & story suggestions, my idea for the ultimate game’s setting and the theme is this. A big open-world game with various challenges like dungeons and (side)quests, possibly with different universes. In the center of it all, is a huge tower that serves as a leader board for the solo and or clans that play the game.

Closing statement

And with that, I think it’s a good idea to end this article here. Otherwise, I might restart giving my ideas and suggestions on how the game will play. Now, if you want to know if my idea has won or not, you should follow OverThinkerY, since, on 31st January 2019, they will reveal the winner on his blog.

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If you want to join in on this challenge, don’t wait. Check out LaterLevels blog for the February challenge.

With that said, I want to thank you so much for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

Publishing: The future of the TCG genre

z4pQ8PshSince the inception of the genre, when Richard Garfield created Magic: the Gathering in 1993, a large number of trading card games have been created, each with its own themes and mechanics. However, if we look at the TCG landscape today, few of them remain standing. So many of them have just disappeared without a trace, but why? Can a new TCG be successful today?

What is nature of TCG?

Trading card games, also known as collectible card games, by their nature require players to buy booster packs and trade cards with their friends in order to build decks and start playing. This can be quite an investment: booster packs cost money and you need a sizeable collection of cards to start trading and building decks from, which requires quite an investment. The randomness within booster packs, along with the different rarities of cards makes the collection process quite costly, long and difficult. This usually means that an average TCG player can’t realistically get into more than one or two trading card games at the same time. This, as you can expect, means that when a new TCG is released, the target audience is already well invested into other games, and is hesitant to pay that much more money on a brand-new game which still has a small following. The success of a TCG is directly related to the size of its player base. Even smaller TCGs require a stable player base in order to stay in business. If a TCG player doesn’t have any friends who play the same game, he or she is more likely to abandon it for a more popular TCG. This leads to the bigger TCGs staying healthy and gaining more players, while the smaller ones disappear.

How does TCG market look like?

By now, the paper TCG market is dominated by only three games: Magic: the Gathering, Pokèmon, and Yu-Gi-Oh. Smaller TCGs still exist, but they are usually based on pre-existing franchises and piggy-back off their success. However, TCGs aren’t just limited to paper. With the advent of the internet, many online TCGs have started appearing and getting more popular despite the problems their paper cousins faced. Why is that? For starters, it’s much easier to find people online to play the game with. In fact, the game itself will find an opponent for you to play against. This means that as long as there is even a small, but stable, amount of people playing an online TCG, the game will still be able to stay alive and organize tournaments. Another advantage online TCGs have over paper TCGs is that they can be free to play, meaning that anybody can try out the game, without hesitation and fear of having to spend a lot of money. Not only that, but online TCGs have many more ways of distributing their cards to their players than just by selling booster packs, decks, or single cards. They can implement systems that allow players to unlock cards just by playing the game, or by accomplishing certain goals in the game. Games like Hearthstone and Hex have had great success with these strategies, and upcoming games like Multiverse: Cosmic Conquest will do so as well.

What about paper TCG’s?

But what about physical cards? Is there no hope for new paper TCGs? What about the players who enjoy TCGs not only for the gameplay but also the interaction with people, the fun times they have with their friends at home or in the game store? Well, while the TCG model is unlikely to work for new titles, this doesn’t mean that new games played with customizable decks are doomed to fail. Fantasy Flight Games coined the term LCG, which stands for Living Card Game. An LCG is a game in which, much like in a TCG, players build their own deck out of the vast collection available. The difference comes in the way the game is sold. LCGs are sold like board games, in that the entire game (or expansion) is sold in a single box, like a board game. There is no element of chance when buying an LCG, you know exactly what will be in the box before you buy it. This approach, while it defeats Richard Garfield’s idea of a game that’s “bigger than the box”, gives certainty to new players. It tells them exactly how much money they will need to invest in a game to be able to enjoy it to the fullest. Games like Lord of the Rings LCG, Android: Netrunner, the Star Wars card game and much more are sold in this manner. The LCG model makes these games much friendlier towards board game players, which also broadens the traditional TCG player base. Multiverse: Cosmic Conquest promises to be released as an LCG if its Kickstarter campaign reaches a certain stretch-goal. So, while you may not enjoy the feeling of cracking a booster pack of a future TCG, you can still do so online, or play it like a board game with your friends.

About the author

Leandro Tokarevski was born on September 26th, 1993. At the age of 6, he started learning the violin. He was always interested in games and drawing, and in 2004, at the age of 11, he moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, where he started to attend an evening art school, as well as continued his music studies in an evening music school. In 2009 he graduated the music school and since then he’s continued to play in various bands and ensembles both on the violin and on the keyboard. In 2010 he graduated art school as well as high school, and entered the St. Petersburg Academy of arts, where he studied architecture. This is where he started to get involved in game design and development. In 2014 he started working on the card game Multiverse: Cosmic Conquest and in April of 2016 he self-published his first full game: Rebels Unite, for which he was both the game designer and artist. In July of 2016 he graduated the Academy of arts, moved back to Rome and started working full-time on game development. Currently he’s working as a pixel artist for the 2D RPG Towards the Pantheon, while continuing to develop Multiverse: Cosmic Conquest. For more information about Multiverse: Cosmic Conquest, please visit a website: https://tokartsmedia.com/

Ethan’s Mini Marathon: 16-hour challenge for SpecialEffect

Committed video-gamers Gamely Giving are continuing on their journey to raise £1,000 for people with disabilities.

This time they’re being led by ten-year-old Ethan in a 16-hour family-friendly marathon on 24 June 2017 in support of SpecialEffect, a charity that puts fun and inclusion back into the lives of those with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games.

Gamely Giving are a team of friends and bloggers from all over the south of the UK. Following on from their participation in GameBlast17, during which they played  for 72-hours straight and raised over £800, they’re asking people to help them reach their target by sponsoring via their online fundraising page.

“Gamers joined hands to raise as much as possible for SpecialEffect during GameBlast17 so they can continue their amazing work. Over £100,000 was donated in total and we’re extremely proud of doing our part for the organisation,” said Kevin, a member of Gamely Giving.

“We’re continuing our support by participating in further events such as Ethan’s Mini Marathon. It’s admirable to see such a sincere commitment to SpecialEffect from someone so young, and his example inspires us to keep going and create more opportunities to raise awareness of the charity through gaming.”

As an added bonus for viewers, for every £1 donated Ethan will place a block of TNT on a massive structure in his Minecraft world along with a sign showing the supporter’s name. He’ll then light it towards the end of the stream and see how much destruction it causes!

Anyone can sponsor the team online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/GamelyGiving2017, and can watch the event at www.twitch.tv/GamelyGiving from 07:00 GMT on Saturday, 24 June 2017. For more information, please visit the website at www.GamelyGiving.com.

Publishing: Gamers to battle sleep in 72-hour charity challenge

Committed video-gamers Gamely Giving are gearing up to burn the midnight oil from 28 April to 01 May 2017 to raise £1,000 for people with disabilities.

They’ll be gaming continuously for 72-hours from 16:00 GMT as part of GameBlast17 and are aiming to raise £1,000 for SpecialEffect, a charity that puts fun and inclusion back into the lives of those with physical disabilities by helping them play video games.

Gamely Giving are a team of friends and bloggers from all over the south of the UK. They’re asking people to help them reach their target by sponsoring them via their online fundraising page.

“We love what SpecialEffect does. They make it possible for people to play the games we enjoy and take for granted by providing them with controllers custom-built to their needs so they can join in with friends and family,” said Kevin, a member of the team. “As gamers, we believe in the healing power of gaming and how it brings people together. GameBlast gives us a chance to put this belief into action by playing to raise money so SpecialEffect can deliver a bit of joy to those who need it.”

“Playing for an extended period is a big challenge, but we’re asking people to attempt it to help thousands of people who, because of a disability, can only sit and watch other people have all the fun with family and friends,” said Mark Saville, the charity’s Communications Officer. “GameBlast is an opportunity for people to do what they love best and level the playing field for individuals with disabilities at the same time.”

The charity is inviting teams of friends, family members, and work colleagues to join the GameBlast event, which has been likened to a Children in Need for gamers. It’s backed by big names in the industry including GAMETwitch and FACEIT, and aims to raise £150,000.

Gamely Giving’s efforts will help people like John who never thought he’d be able to play video games again because his muscular dystrophy stopped him using a controller,” said Mark. “The sponsorship raised through the GameBlast event will change the lives of much more people like John through the gift of gaming fun and inclusivity.”

Anyone can sponsor the team online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/GamelyGiving2017 and can watch the event at www.twitch.tv/GamelyGiving. More details about the GameBlast17 event can be found at www.gameblast17.com.

Rant #009.5: 10 things that I dislike about games. (Part 2/2)

not-sure-if-trolling-or-just-bad-game-designPart 1

Alright, let’s continue this rant. With the picture I used for the introduction at part 1 at the right side, let’s talk about 5 other things that annoy me in games. I started with issues with the control binding, tutorials, invisible walls, grinding and social networks. This second part of the rant has been written before part 1 got released, so I couldn’t add things from the comments. In any case, these things aren’t placed in any order. Since all these things annoy me. And what does it matter that one thing annoys me more then another one? All these issues need to be addressed! To close off this introduction, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion of my picks and or your most annoying things in video games. Thanks in advance. Anyways, let’s go!

#5: Micro-transactions of ANY kind

dlcThis stuff happens with DLC as well. I have seen DLC for Assassins Creed 4 to speed up some grinding. But you need to pay a small fee for it. Now these things give people an unfair advantage in some games.

Bravely Default made a big mistake here. There is a special “rescue” type item to save your party that works with micro-transactions.

I can understand DLC. If it’s additional content that you need to pay for. But these things to have additional gems or reduce waiting or grinding time boils my blood.

An amazing parody game is DLC Quest. You will get a kick out of this if you dislike this as well.

Before I move on, I have to mention something. In college, a friend of mine plays a soccer sim on his phone. He got annoyed that people kept beating him because they abused the micro-transaction system. So, this kills the balance in the game. Yeah. I promised him that I mentioned it!

#4: Online “noobs”

Unbenannt-1_3058566Okay, don’t get me wrong here. I have no (big) issues with noobs. There are people who need to learn how to play the game. You can’t expect yourself to be good at any game you play online. By playing the game over and over again, you get better at it.

In Minecraft, if you use a hacked client to make custom maps, I can understand. Yet, then you have a whole range of people who are just killing the online experience. And instead of flooding my whole top 10 here, I took them all under one entry.

I’m talking about campers, hackers, abusing the chat system… It all grinds my gears. Can’t you just play the game like normal?

Rust, is a perfect example of a game that got ruined by people who used hacks for example fly. I have seen YouTubers calling out at each other, and that’s where I draw my line.

Abusing glitches in a game, sure, why not? I mean, I used the “X-Ray” machines to find caves in Minecraft. I have no shame in admitting that. It doesn’t help me finding the best ores. It just helps me finding caves to find those ores or to make grinders work better.

If you’re a hacker, and you need your hacks to play the game, just keep in mind that you ruin the game for others! There is also a chance that you either kill the server, experience or the game for others. In my experience I have seen a server dying slowly because of the hacking.

I think I will leave it here for this entry. But this might be another rant coming where I talk more in depth of this subject.

#3: Flaws in the difficulty

escape-from-monkey-island-cover683213Dear lords, is this something many gamers under us have such a hate for. Games that suddenly throw up the difficulty for the climax of the game.

Escape From Monkey Island on the PS2 made a major flaw here. You have to work out a whole rule set for an advanced rock-paper-scissor game. Now, I don’t have endless patience to figure this all out. So, naturally I looked it up online. And yes, it’s randomized each and every time! Oh lords, isn’t that fun.

I’m planning to write a “game quicky” about custom minecraft maps. But in these maps, they make this fatal flaw as well. When I still made YouTube video’s I had to cancel a series because there were too much spawners.

In CTM maps, there can be a lot of spawners. But they should be balanced. In Super Hostile maps, there are a lot of spawners but it’s possible. Because with enough light sources you can disable the spawners and such.

Now, when any game, mod or custom map throws an overdose of enemies at you that it becomes more of an endurance round, then the game is flawed.

Not to mention that games where the enemies can kill you in a shot or two on the hardest difficulty setting. I mean, it should still be playable. And you shouldn’t be afraid that each monster could kill you with the greatest of ease.  That’s in summary what I mean with this.

#2: Backtracking, most of the times.

999

Yes, I’m looking at a game like the amazing 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors on the DS for this one. While you don’t have to backtrack while playing the game, there is a major sort of backtracking here. This game has multiple endings.

Here is the issue, when you saw an ending, you have to replay the whole game over again to see the other endings. Auwch! You might have a speed-up button but still.

Thankfully the sequel fixed this. In Virtue’s Last Reward, you have a tree that follows the different paths. So, that way you can easily go back to one point in time and pick the different option.

Now, about backtracking. In some cases, I can understand it. Like you need to go first to one spot to fetch a power-up. In Castlevania(-like) games I have no problem with it at all. Since you can grind your character meanwhile. That’s clever game design!

But when the game design is so bad that you can easily skip something or when it becomes a big focus, then it’s no fun anymore. Take notes from the examples I mentioned above guys!

#1: Cliches / Bad game design

unnamedNow, my final thing are two things combined. When a game uses too much cliches in their game, the game gets boring and predictable. I hate it the most when it comes to cliches giving the game a bad game design.

From cheap deaths to jump courses you can’t fail… Yeah, it can ruin a game easily. I found a game on Android that demonstrates this to it’s full extend. From impossible timed challenges to moving platforms to spikes… You name it.

While this game goes of memorization, this game has great game design. And it’s rewarding to find the way the developer wanted you to finish the level. This game uses a ton of cliches in the right way and makes an amazing game with it.

For example, I’m not good in jumping puzzles. I fail them a lot. In the Wind Waker, there is a part in the ship that you need to do. It’s a part where you need to jump from platform to platform. When you fail, you have to restart. Man, did I hate that part.

Closing words

So, that was my rant on 10 things that annoy me in games. I know that a lot of these articles exist on the net but I tried to talk about things that almost never get mentioned. That got extremely challenging near the end.

All these subjects would have been a complete rant. But I never had enough material to write a full article about it. So, I’m glad that I was able to talk about it in this article.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I’m really looking forward to your comments. Thanks again and I hope to see you at a next article.

Rant #005: Modern gaming never grew up.

Thanks to my girlfriend for making this for me.

Thanks to my friend for making this for me.

Let’s face it. The modern games makes the current gaming market a totally different market. You can’t deny it, it’s simply a fact that games lately are getting easier and easier and that you can’t go without a tutorial, even for an easy game. People always go nuts about the graphics and some things no longer matter for them. Is this current gaming market still as good as the old gaming market? Are retro games truly better or is it something else? Let’s rant!

Retro games are better!

Many claim that the original Mario is still better.

Many claim that the original Mario is still better.

Many gamers that are around the age of 20 or older will tell you that games of their childhood where better then the current games. Some will even stick with those good old games and play them even to this day, they are the so called retro gamers.

But if you ask younger gamers, they are going to look to games from 10 years ago and go bashing on the graphics or other things. Saying that they are old and actually saying they suck.

To make a long rant short, you can easily say that it’s a generation thing. Older people grew up with the old Mario and since it holds so many childhood memories, they say it’s the better game. Newer games don’t give that feeling of nostalgia that makes them prefer the newer games above the older games.

Yet, there are also gamers who always think the newer games are better. Graphics, gameplay, story telling… everything gets improved.  But what’s a better game? Surely, it’s personal preference. If I like to play older games, I’ll say that the older games are better. But it can work the other way around too. In addition to that, you need to look to the “quality” of the games too. Are the games actually good for that time period? Or are they garbage?

Flaws of the modern games.

Yearly we get a new Call Of Duty. Yup.

Yearly we get a new Call Of Duty. Yup.

Modern games aren’t perfect. Not at all. The biggest issue I have with them is that they are mostly focusing on the graphical aspect rather then the gameplay. Also, in one of my previous rants, I talked about how many modern games actually hold your hand and tell you what to do. There is no exploration in a game.

Straight or a limit amount of paths are the norm. Games with an open world like for example Zelda always have a certain way to stop you from progressing without an item. This way they manage to make the game extremely linear without you even realizing.

A big example for ranters to talk about is how the Call Of Duty campaign gets shorter each year. The game is a multiplayer game without a doubt. You basically buy it for being able to go online. One of my best friends was a fan of the series but got annoyed by it’s latest entries where his hand was hold for him to finish.

It would be stupid if we didn’t mention the fact that most gaming companies go milking the cash cow. If something sells, they make more of the same to get even more money from our pockets. Let’s take the cheap example of how many Mario games are sold. It’s an easy mascot that kids recognize and buy.

What mostly makes me worry is the lack of creativity in the current gaming world. Outside of the indy developers we barely see new creative work. It’s always the same thing and it the sequel the work out the flaws of the original, but it’s mostly the same idea. Or they cut out on things like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity.

Let’s talk about the systems for a second. Give me one system that can’t run DVD’s or play your favorite music. The Wii & DS couldn’t do that, unless you illegally modified them. Modern gaming platforms are more aimed to the general multimedia lover instead of a gamer. This makes that games need to be aimed for a wider group so they can’t be too difficult.

Flaws of retro games.

Good old Metroid.

Good old Metroid.

One major issue is that some games are way too difficult. The infamous 1 hit death is a welcome example here. Also the fact that there wasn’t an internet to look for walkthroughs or cheats, makes games more difficult. Like some gamers say, when you couldn’t finish a game back then, that’s though luck for you.

In addition to that, there were many games that had cryptic area’s to make the game more difficult. In Zelda II – Adventure of Link for example you need to pass through a wall to finish one dungeon. Or Death Mountain, it’s a maze beyond belief.

Also, games were pretty fragile. Saving worked with an internal battery in the cartridge and when that one ran out, it’s no saving for you. Also when there was dust in the game’s connector pins, you had to carefully blow in the cartridge to make it work again. When the connector pins broken, your game was broken too.

Also the games where more flawed back then. The games where more buggy like the famous cartridge titling glitch. But I can’t count on one hand anymore how much internet memes are created because of the faulty translation of games. “All your base are belong to us.” is a very popular example.

The internet, a knife that cuts both ways.

A generic picture to fancy up the article.

A generic picture to fancy up the article.

If I had to point out something that is good and bad for the gaming community it’s the internet for sure.

The good thing is that indy developers now have more tools to release their work. If they make a website and do some promotion on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube for example; they are set. Another good thing is that (big) companies can now easier support their costumers. They can make FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on their website so that their Q&A (Question and Answer) staff doesn’t have to answer the same question over and over again.

Yet the internet is such a bad influence to games as well. Walkthroughs are such a welcome invention. But I can’t deny that I have finished some games with a walkthrough at hand. Above that, the internet is filled with spoilers. If you are tired of the game and you want to know the ending, you can simply look it up. This defeats the purpose of finishing a game.

Oh, and don’t worry, I’m going to talk about it. The amount of hacks and cheats in a game that you can download on the internet. An aimbot for shooters or a X-Ray for Minecraft. It all exists. And people enjoy using it online. And it ruins the experience for gamers that want to play the game legit. Abusing bugs, I can live with that. But using wall hacks or other things makes my blood boil.

I have to admit that after finishing a game, I messed around with programs a lot that made my character jump higher or that I had unlimited ammo. It’s fun to do once to see how the game is made and how things work. But if you try to finish it for the first time, a lot of the fun is taken away.

Spoilers are also everywhere. If you play a game alongside with one of your favorite YouTubers, the comments are filled with things that will happen in the game. Bye bye thrilling game.

Modern games never grew up.

It’s nearly “pick your poison”. Both games have flaws that make me go nuts. Old games can be too difficult and new games can be too easy or unpolished.

Thankfully there are exceptions to the rule. Some games actually aren’t that bad. Some old games can also be extremely easy. But in my eyes, modern games never grew up to a new gaming level. Many improvements are made to the graphics but does that make for better games? I truly don’t know and I will surely touch upon this subject again. But for now I’m going to leave it here. Thanks for reading and until next time.

Game Diary #2: A day at school ~ GBA games

Arpegi Back

When I posted the game diary yesterday on my blog on my forum, a lot of amazing replies came. One of them even asked for more of them. And you guys are in luck, I felt like making another one today. So, in this blog game, I write a fake story as a sort of diary entry. In this story, I hide several game names or obvious game references. Each entry has it’s own theme. Like last entry was one where 10 NES games where in hidden. I realize that I made a flaw and put a SNES game in by accident. Thanks Muddy for pointing that out on the forums. Speaking about the forums, the global moderator Light made this picture meant for a wallpaper. It’s amazing. Anyways, feel free to post your solution or the ones you find in the comments. So for those playing the game, pay attention when reading the comments. So, here we go. In this article I have hidden 10 GBA games. Based on this list. If I made more then 10 references, feel free to comment to. Those one weren’t on purpose. 

The entry

Hiya there diary,

Today my mom went out to the garage. Both my parent’s their cars broke down. Hopefully they get them repaired soon. But the gods are with us. That’s for sure.

Today I dreamed  away. I was looking to the golden sun. Yeah, it’s not yellow for me. I always thought the sun had a more golden color. I should have been studying history actually. But things like Napoleon and robots don’t really interest me. I also never understood why there where robots in my history book anyways.

Today it was a truth or dare with my friends. Silly questions where asked, like if Johnathan is actually in love with Cindy. If that was only true. But Cindy would never start a relationship with him. Only if pigs grow wings. Or better said, when they can fly.

 While I am writing this, I would love it if the guy with the drill would shut up. He is causing me headaches and I can’t study for anything. But then again, I prefer that sound over the sound that comes from my sister’s room. How she can watch that show American Idol, I truly don’t understand.

The field trip of tomorrow goes to the Rocky Mountains. I can’t wait! It’ll be a whole lot of fun. Hiking through the woods. I can give some teachers a payback of giving me back marks because I gave up at the running test.

Well, I’m too tired to continue to write now. I’m going to dive into my pillow fortress and maybe catch a nap.

See you laterz,

Jonez.

The solution

  1. Cars, from the movie Cars.
  2. Gods, it’s a port of a Sega game.
  3. Golden Sun, yeah, it’s a present.
  4. Napoleon, it’s a game title yes.
  5. Robots, I even mentioned it twice. 
  6. Wings, it’s a GBA too.
  7. American Idol, like the TV show.
  8. Rocky, yup, the boxer has it’s own GBA game.
  9. Payback, it’s a GBA game too.
  10. Fortress is the last game I referenced. 

Final notes

This was harder then I expected. I know a lot about Nintendo, but hiding the games into a story for GBA games, it wasn’t easy. I did it, but I feel like I made some easy use of some game titles.

Anyways, I enjoyed challenging myself with hiding the game titles in here. How many can you guys find? Let me know. But the next article will be something else.